[url]http://www.straitstimes.com/archive/friday/premium/top-the-news/story/holland-village-site-sale-pushed-back-nuanced-approach-20141205[/url]

[B][SIZE=5]Holland Village site sale pushed back for 'nuanced' approach[/SIZE][/B]

Published on Dec 5, 2014 12:55 AM

By Cheryl Ong


THE eagerly anticipated sale of a rare site in Holland Village has been pushed back, in a sign that the area's redevelopment is to receive more "thoughtful" treatment, experts say.

The plum 2.3ha site, near Holland Village MRT station, has been earmarked for an iconic integrated development.

Initially, it was to have been put out to tender this month amid moves to enhance Holland Village. But in a more nuanced approach, the site was yesterday put on the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme's reserve list for the first half of next year.

Now, developers must first make an opening offer acceptable to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), under a "concept and price revenue" tender system - also known as the "two-envelope system" - in which developers submit their design proposals and bid prices separately.

This approach is adopted for the sale of "strategic sites", said URA. The site of the upcoming heritage redevelopment project Capitol Singapore was the most recent to be sold this way.

The move suggests that the redevelopment of Holland Village into an identity node - places with distinct character as outlined in the URA Master Plan 2014 in November last year - has taken on a "more thoughtful and introspective approach", said Ms Chia Siew Chuin, director of research and advisory at Colliers.

"URA has assessed that there is a need to give tenderers more time to study the site and tender evaluation criteria before triggering it for sale," said a URA spokesman. "This is because tenderers must submit concept proposals to be evaluated against URA's vision to ensure a future development which enhances the unique charm and character of the Holland Village identity node."

A change in tender systems also means financial muscle will not be the only criterion for winning the tender, said Mr Desmond Sim, head of research at CBRE, Singapore and South-east Asia.

In the north, moves to create decentralised hubs gained pace as a 2.45ha commercial site in Woodlands Square was made available on the reserve list. It is the second commercial site up for sale in the area, after a plot in Woodlands Avenue 5 was bought for $634 million by a consortium of Far East Organization, Far East Orchard and Sekisui House in April.

The attributes that drew bidders to the site then, such as proximity to an upcoming Thomson Line MRT station, are likely to attract bidders to trigger the new plot for tender, experts said.

Still, analysts were surprised that it was the only new commercial site introduced under the GLS, despite an upcoming supply crunch in office space here.

In city areas, new developments like the South Beach and Marina One integrated projects are set to add sufficient office space to the Downtown districts only up to 2018, said Ms Chia.

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